Mississippi governor says he’ll sign bill banning transgender athletes from women’s sports
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Thursday committed to signing a bill that bans transgender athletes from participating in girls’ or women’s sports at state schools and universities.
His commitment to approve the bill comes after the state House this week passed the legislation, which is expected to make it to the governor’s desk in the upcoming days. The Mississippi Senate previously passed the bill last month, with both chambers voting mostly along party lines.
“I will sign our bill to protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities,” the governor said in a tweet.
“It’s crazy we have to address it, but the Biden E.O. forced the issue,” Reeves wrote. “Adults? That’s on them. But the push for kids to adopt transgenderism is just wrong.”
I will sign our bill to protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities.
It’s crazy we have to address it, but the Biden E.O. forced the issue. Adults? That’s on them. But the push for kids to adopt transgenderism is just wrong. https://t.co/sncpaPlTbZ
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 4, 2021
Opponents to the legislation voiced their displeasure with the governor’s announcement, saying it amounts to discrimination.
In a press conference, Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, criticized state officials prioritizing the bill while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“While millions of people in Mississippi are waiting for urgent relief as it relates to COVID-19, the leaders of Mississippi are not focused on that. Rather, they’re focused on prioritizing bullying against transgender kids,” David said, according to The Associated Press.
Mississippi’s bill followed President Biden’s signing of an executive order his first day in office prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in school sports.
Reeves was vocal in his opposition to Biden’s executive order, posting several tweets last month noting he was “disappointed over President Biden’s actions to force young girls … to compete with biological males for access to athletics.”
He pointed to his three daughters, saying the order “will limit opportunity for so many competitors like my daughters. It is bad policy and it is wrong for America.”
In recent years, conservative state lawmakers across the country have advocated for legislation banning transgender women from participating in women’s sports, asserting that since they were born male, they are stronger and faster than competitors born female.
This year, more than half of states are considering bills that would limit transgender people’s access to sports or medical care.
Idaho became the first state to pass legislation last year preventing students from using gender identity to choose their sports team. This week, the Alabama Senate approved a bill that would ban hormone therapy, puberty-blockers and surgery for transgender youth younger than 19.
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